ARTistic Pursuits–High School Art



ARTistic Pursuits

High School 9-12 Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition


Well. That’s not entirely true – unless you just started reading Petra School’s blog. We’ve been using ARTistic Pursuits for over a year, we’re sharing that we’ve moved up to the High School Book!


Artistic Pursuits starts with a simple list of the elements of art that will be covered in each of the 16 units, along with a short list of supplies. The first semester the focus is on pencil drawing, the second is on charcoal. At this stage in High School, most families should have these tools on hand, or they can be found in craft/mart stores. (If you are living in a tiny town in the middle of no where like me, they also have pkgs of supplies that they sell and ship).

The book moves along to the Book Content and Scheduling, a simple one page overview. Each Unit is broken into four lessons. If  you spend about an hour twice a week, there is enough material for 32 weeks. Each unit has the following lessons:

  • Building a Visual Vocabulary,
  • Art Appreciation and Art History,
  • Techniques, and
  • Application.
  • ARTistic Pursuits wants the student to spend the time to understand the concept of art. Using vocabulary and great artists for examples gives quiet time to develop observational skills. Simple projects, clear to understand with distinct goals,  helps the student enjoy the process of putting ideas on paper. Being able to choose objects to practice the skills connects the student to the object. Looking for those elements of art in the everyday helps them become more visually aware of the world they live in.

    We have seen this to be true in our own family over the last year. The boys now look at paintings and art with a deeper appreciation. Their vocabulary while discussing a work of art reflects the knowledge they’ve gained with artists, color, texture, space and balance.

    I was excited to receive the High School level ARTistic Pursuits to use with our Art Appreciation Curriculum from Harmony Art Mom. We have Art and Composers on Wednesday. On this particular week, we were joined with a family who was also reviewing the product at an elementary level.  We were both on Unit 2, Lines. We are also both on Rome for our History. Here’s how it played out.


    We gathered our basic supplies. Pencil set, erasers, drawing journals and High School 9-12 Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition . Although all five kids could have used the one book together – since they had their book, we split the kids between the  older and younger. I did see that the vocabulary of the projects added layers to the Line project with the High School Age.


    We shared our past projects from Unit One with each other. My boys have never shown an interest in becoming great drawing artists, using crayons in coloring books, or filling pages of notebooks with beautiful renderings of scenes they’ve imagined. They like to doodle. They like zombies. However, for these lessons, I ask them to stay on task. In the back of the book is an Evaluation Sheet for Levels of Achievement. It helps them to know what is expected during their learning time.


    We start with the Vocabulary.  Since we have done the Jr. High Level Books, a lot of this was review. However, in Lesson 2, Looking at Lines in Art – I really wanted Jon to see how Leonardo d Vinci  used thick and thin pencil markings to create his Figure on horseback tramping Prostrate Foe. Jon has a habit of starting with thick dark lines and erasing several times before getting the form right. He starts quickly without looking at the space of his paper. The first and second units addresses this.  We pulled out our 4H, HB and 4B pencils to practice using different types of pencils for the range of values – light to dark.

    The Project  for Application in Lesson 4 is where we got to blend our Rome History Studies and our Art assignment from Harmony Art Mom.  (By the way we did have an Art History Assignment during Lesson 2.   – helping us to become more aware of the whole space, and using Leonardo’s method of redrawing lines, while leaving the first lines untouched. ) The project was to Draw a face using a photograph as a reference. Knowing this ahead of time, I printed out several copies of a bust of Augustus Caesar. Using a pencil set, drawing paper, vinyl eraser and pencil sharpener, they all got after it. The youngers used their assignment of finding an object to draw in the house.

    Self Guided or Teacher Guided?  We do both. The book is very easy to follow for a student, or a teacher who is not well versed in Art. Any person with a degree of reading comprehension may work through this course independently. This level is directed towards grades 9-12. We, personally, use the Harmony Art Mom timeline to work through the levels, and I look ahead to see if we can blend our History or Nature studies with a project.  Our style of schooling is to blend subjects, but it I not necessary to complete this course.





    We have truly enjoyed ARTistic Pursuits. I highly recommend this product to every family – home, charter, private or public. The perspective and understanding that we have gained over the last year is incredible. Our appreciation of artists, their work, and their skill in creating a scene has grown to a level that it is now in our conversations. The boys, although they do not always draw for entertainment, have been challenged to learn from the great artists through history and apply what they learn to their own images. I can not possibly think of any CON for this company.

    ARTistic Pursuits, High School Book One
    The Elements of Art and Composition
    by Brenda Ellis. Publisher: Artistic Pursuits Inc. Comb-binding, 92 pages, 68 lessons, 186 illustrations. ISBN: 978-1-939394-08-8, January 1, 2013, 3rd Edition
    List Price $47.95
    Ages 14 and Up


    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

    About +Angie Wright

    The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
    This entry was posted in Arts, Reviews, Schoolhouse Crew and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

    6 Responses to ARTistic Pursuits–High School Art

    1. Would you recommend going through earlier levels prior to using this particular resource, or would it work out for highschool aged students to pursue it without previous/limited art instruction?

      • I would definately start at where they are. I’ve seen Elementary, Middle and High School levels. We’ve used MS and HS, and now we are using a new one for construction – 3D art. For Middle and High School, the two books work together to give a whole picture of Artists. You could start on either one. If you have 5th graders and 10th graders – I’d do the Middle School one first, and work up to the High School.

        • Thanks so much. I ran across your review after reading your post from 4/15….a God-led rabbit trail found me here this afternoon. I’m filled with joy and courage again! Blessings!

      • If you have any particular questions – feel free to ask! I LOVE love LOVE this program. I used it with Harmony Fine Arts. We did it out of order – by History timeline – instead of by age. I think it is

    2. Anonymous says:

      I didn’t do this review, but I’ve always thought this curriculum looked neat.

    3. I love the girl with the pink socks.

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